Ards come up short against Cork at Londonderry Park
The only two members of Ireland's 1994 World Cup squad still playing top-flight hockey went head-to-head on Saturday as Ards fell to a 2-0 EY IHL defeat by Cork Harlequins at Londonderry Park.
Rachael Bateman went home happier than Tamara Macleod as Ards hopes of making the play-offs suffered another blow as they remain three places off the foot of the table.
Macleod is naturally disappointed that Ards are struggling after winning a Premier League-Ulster Shield double last season.
"We have been good for large parts of games but we are just not firing yet in the circle," she said. "Saturday was a similar story to a lot of our games, as we had loads of pressure and penalty corners but we just couldn't convert our chances.
"Then they caught us out with a quick free and all of a sudden we're a goal down and then, as we went pressing for an equaliser they won a corner and scored from it."
After Ards had squandered four penalty corners, Rachel Hobbs got the opener after nine minutes and Olivia Roycroft added the insurance goal nine minutes from the end.
Pegasus' play-off hopes are also hanging in the balance after a first half goal from Ireland Under-18 star Nina Heisterkemp gave Railway Union a 1-0 win in Dublin.
"Railway capitalised on a slow start by us and while we had a lot of pressure and possession in the second half we failed to create a quality opportunity to draw level," said Pegasus captain Alex Speers.
Meanwhile Ballymena will meet Raphoe in the Senior Cup final on January 1 after beating Knock and Banbridge respectively on penalty strokes in yesterday's semis at Mossley.
Results: Saturday: EY Irish Hockey League: Ards 0 Cork Harlequins 2 (R. Hobbs, O. Roycroft); Hermes 5 Pembroke 1; Railway Union 1 (N. Heisterkemp) Pegasus 0.
Ulster Premier League: North Down 1 (K. Hill) Randalstown 1 (A. Ogilby); Queen's 5 (J. Allison, R. McMillan, A. Hutchinson, J. Kee, T. Hastings) Lisnagarvey 2 (S. McCullough, L. Johnston).
Senior One: Banbridge 4 Raphoe 1; Cookstown 0 Rainey 1; Knock 2 Larne 1; Victorians 1 Grosvenor 2.
Yesterday: Senior Cup semi-finals: Ballymena 2 (E. Gillespie, C. Gillespie) Knock 2 (L. Elder, S. Wells) (Ballymena won 4-2 on penalties); Banbridge 3 (G. McConnell, R. Kerr, A. Jenkinson) Raphoe 3 (L. Patterson, S. Barnett, K. Porter) (Raphoe won 6-5 on pens.)